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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Ms Juliet AllenESRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship

Social Norms and Fathers’ Use of Parental Leave Entitlements

Supervisor: Professor Jude Browne (University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)

Advisor: Dr Maria Iacovou (Department of Sociology)



My research examined the ways that social and cultural norms influence fathers’ decisions about use of parental leave, using an understanding of parenting as gendered and performative. Despite significant changes made to parental leave allocations in Europe in recent years, fathers’ take-up of leave entitlements remains consistently lower than mothers’, even in countries with the most gender-sensitive frameworks including ‘daddy quotas’ and other paternal incentives.  

This research used a mixed methodology and focused on Portugal, Sweden and the UK. The project investigated the significance of social norms and gendered responsibilities in decisions about who uses leave, and examined how parenting practice has the potential to both reinscribe and unsettle the gender binary.

I co-convened the Gender and Working Lives reading and research group and tweet at Jules_Allen_


I hold an MSc in Gender Research with distinction from LSE’s Gender Institute. My research interests include sociology of gender; reproductive sociology; reproductive labour and care; heteronormativity and kinship; feminist economics, social policy and postcolonialism. Prior to undertaking my PhD, I specialised in funding, and working in the international development, UK health/social care and higher education sectors.

Publications and Reports:

Allen, J. (2020). 2020 WBG Briefing: Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave. London: Women’s Budget Group. Available at:

Allen, J. and Norman, J. “All the parties have failed to promise the new parental leave system we need.” The Times, December 11 2019.

Allen, J. (2016). Changing Parenting Roles for Transforming Gender. LSE Engenderings. Available at: from